Retirement Transition 2 Year Mark

An in-depth survey was recently published (Age Wave/Merrill Lynch) that identified a “2-year retirement transition” phase they called Liberation and Self-Discovery. Having just passed my 2-year mark, I felt encouraged to look back and see what I had accomplished, especially in relationship to the survey averages. I’m also stealing my review format from Mr. FireStation (I am a firm believer in steal & reapply); he used his life-wheel for his 6-week update. I’m using my 7 Domains of Life for this review.

A big part of my past 2 years was on Self-discovery. (Yeah, I’m matching a retirement survey results for once!) I left the work force earlier than anticipated with no future plan, except the financial one. I was a workaholic, well known for having “no life”. I spent time this past 2 years doing in-depth research on what is retirement and how to go about creating a retirement life plan – especially on the domains other than finances! I did self-discovery exercises on values, strengths and interests. I spent time on creating a life vision (writing, vision board, discussions with spouse). And then, I began activating the vision. Part of this work resulted in a Possibilities List of over 150 items. And some realization of what I truly need to be happy and fulfilled – a daily schedule (even if it says “afternoon reading on the couch”), some goals (weekly blog post, summer bucket list), and some new habit formation (work in progress on increasing activity!).

Here’s some of the things that I’ve done in each my 7 Life Domain:

• Work/Career – I struggled through the “work or not to work” question. It took awhile to really understand what needs work had provided to me (five needs work commonly provides: financial compensation, status & identity, achievement & utility, social affiliation, time management & structure), and which of those needs I still needed compensated-work to fulfill. This might change as retirement progresses, but right now I am working (very) part- time.
o The combination of forming my own consulting LLC and signing on with a few local consulting groups resulted in 5 small-scale projects this past year. I’ve also written a few blogs for one of these consulting groups, to help stimulate possible future project work.
o I became a certified Retirement Life Coach and began networking to create that business. I implemented a discussion series on retirement transition, as well as write this blog about the topic.
o Intentional Networking is a big part of this type of consulting/ coaching work! My goal is 10 networking connections per month and I am successful most months.

• Hobby/Leisure – This was the domain I needed to learn the most about! When it came to the work/life balance, I was an expert at “work”, but a beginner at “life”. Because of this high focus, this domain ended overlapping with a few others as I created my Out & About mantra – plans tend to include Be Active (Health/Wellbeing) and Relationships/Connections (Fun with Friends)
o Seasonal bucket lists have included mini road trips, museum visits, seasonal festivals, local theater & concerts, and other stay-cation type of activities. Some of the fun new things we did this year: Feast of Seven Fishes, Lego Art at the Museum Center, a Psychic Festival, and an FC soccer game.
o Move It plan: In my quest to be more active, I’ve committed to weekly Zumba, a weekly 4 mile park hike, and Beach Yoga when I’m in Florida. More is needed here, but this is a good start.
o My Foodie-wannabe implementation is multi-dimensional but includes regular visits to Jungle Jim’s (amazing food store about 25 miles from us), Cooking Boot Camp at the Mid-west Culinary Institute, and I started a Mid-week Foodie club to explore local restaurants.
o Play with Words – I found I love words. I’ve taken writing classes, regularly do crossword and (computer) scrabble, read (both learning focused and just for pleasure) and write (blogs as well as a draft book).
o Re-start Adventure Travel – this was an area I realized I missed. It’s been a slow start but we did a NOLA long weekend (planned and executed!). Also, every 2 months we take a mini-trip to Florida, where I am more active – walking, biking and SUPing.

• Relationships/Connection – I found it takes work to maintain and create new connections – so this is about being intentional. I regularly watch for possible events and reach out to friends to see if they are interested. I regularly send notes to meet up for coffee/happy hour/lunch/walks. I plan intentional time with hubby – for the first time in years I’m planning mid-week date nights – dinner and a show! I’ve recently established a new stretch goal in this space: I want to be invited to 4 pursuits/ connections per month by someone else. To me this would be an indication of having a created a 2-way connection (friendship).

• Location/Lifestyle – Part of our (hubby and me) life vision included getting clarity on how we want to live.
o We did compromise on location/house and have begun house shopping – we are “rightsizing locally”. Because of family commitments, we are in no rush, but it’s been fun to go explore new neighborhoods and refine what we really want in our next home. I’m calling it our 10-year home – a combination base camp (to allow us to travel more), food-focused entertainment center (to cook and have friends over when we are here), and storage facility (for hubby’s toys)

o Conscious De-cluttering – After reading about the KonMari de-cluttering methods, I attempted to implement. Files are still a work in progress, but you can actually walk into the office now. Clothes closets are somewhat better as I re-purposed some work clothes and got rid of lots more. This de-cluttering was followed by 4 months as a local Antique Dealer attempting to dispose of antique items. I learned that antiquing is not an area that turned into a passion!

• Self-development/Volunteering – Self-development right now is exploring different topics (My Possibilities List is brimming with ideas!) and seeing where my passion takes me. My focus here has been on Learning.
o First I researched retirement (including in-depth self-discovery) which morphed into boosting creativity (ex. The Artists Way) and then into Ego, Spirituality and Cognition exploration. This has been a fun series of explorations – a bit of learning for the sake of learning.
o I also took computer classes, pottery class, explored coloring books, and recently made a couple of purchases from The Great Courses.

• Health/Wellbeing – This area has not only been about getting more active (physical health – see Move It above) but also about spirituality exploration and emotional awareness. I am using many of the techniques I’ve learned in my retirement research and creativity exploration to create new habits and more emotional awareness. Daily journaling, weekly gratitude lists, use of affirmations, and mindfulness are all elements I am attempting to incorporate into my daily life.

• Finances/Planning – The Financial Plan (including the budget, insurance, and draw down plans) was the one area that was in place when I retired. Since then it has been more about creating a higher level of Financial Comfort with regular reviews. I am managing through the discomfort of not having a regular paycheck and the fears when the stock market goes mad or we wonder what the election will bring.

The term Self-Discovery & Liberation is very indicative of this past 2 years. I’ve learned a lot about myself as an individual and not just a “product development technologist”. Am I fully through the transition? Not sure. According to the survey, the next (quite long) phase is “Greater Freedom and New Choices”. I do feel a wonderful sense of freedom to choose what I want to do. So maybe I am through my transition…Hmm, will I need to rename my blog?

Picture Credit: Pixabay

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